Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: Soundave 2011 (Brisbane)

This weekend I've managed to pull muscles in both legs, acquire ridiculously painful and awkwardly positioned blisters on both feet (thanks to my DMs), got sunburn on my shoulder and face and had to put up with people of various levels of annoyingness on 4 different flights. I also went to Soundwave in Brisbane and it was all totally fucking worth it.

Arriving at the festival about half an hour after the gates opened (thanks to getting totally confused about which way I was supposed to be going), I missed the first acts. Not that I really wanted to see any of them, but I would've been interested to check out one of the local bands that were playing. Ah well. First band I got to see was Breathe Carolina on stage 5A. Couple of sound issues with one of the mics, but overall a good set, which the Breathe Carolina fans seemed to enjoy. Plus, they included a couple of the only songs I know by them, so that was nice.

After BC, I shuffled over to the next-door stage, 5B. I actually ended up spending a lot of the day around the stage 5s. Anyways, Bayside was on 5B. I know one solitary song by Bayside, but they put on a fucking good live show and managed to include Masterpiece, which aside from being the one song I know by them, is also one of my favourite songs EVER. Shifting back over to stage 5A again, I caught This Town Needs Guns. Firstly, they have a thing about naming songs after animals - I think we got Lemur, Pig, Babboon and... Panda? Possibly? Secondly, their vocalist isn't half a wiggly chap - someone from the crowd named him "King of Jive". Thirdly, they seemed a little out of place. They're more of an indie band, and Soundwave is more of an alt-rock, punk, metal type thing. That said, they were pretty decent. Not my thing, but a good band. Tiny crowd though and at times they got a bit drowned out by Sevendust who were playing on stage 4 at the other end of the area. Sevendust being heavy as fuck and bloody loud too. Well, that's what it sounded like to me.

Moving on.

Back across to stage 5B (again). We The Kings and the first band of the day I'd really wanted to see. Again, I know two songs by We The Kings, but I like their sound and they played the songs I know. The crowd was by far the biggest I'd seen so far and definitely one of the most passionate of the day overall. The band also seemed to be better at engaging with the (predominately teenaged, female) crowd than the previous bands. Particularly liked the story about the stoner best friend telling vocalist Travis Clark that he was "like the red haired Jesus". Indeed. Moving on. I almost passed out. Too warm, basically, so I grabbed a drink and went and hid in the shade next to stage 5A. Sitting there, I caught most of Dommin's set. Wasn't really paying much attention, but it sounded like decent goth rock with electronic bits. Electro-rock, sort of, but not quite. Miniscule crowd - smallest I saw all day, which was a shame because I honestly thought they sounded great and I'm planning on checking them out once I've finished writing this. Oh, and they played a beautiful cover of Died In Your Arms by Cutting Crew.

There is a note at this point in my scribblings which says "several pairs of pretty DMs, feet still attached." I don't think folks would've been impressed if I'd tried to filch their Docs from under them.

After I'd recovered from the heat-passing-out-ness, I headed over to the main stages to catch Stone Sour. Again, I know two songs by them, but I love Corey Taylor's voice, so I thought I'd check out their set. And there was no one else I wanted to see at the time. As it was, I caught the end of Bullet For My Valentine's set. Never listened to them. I vaguely know one song from a mixtape I have, but that's it. I blamed this for the fact that I couldn't decifer any of their lyrics. Then I couldn't decifer any of Stone Sour's. I gave up on their set after about 10 minutes because for whatever reason, the sound was shit from where I was sitting and I couldn't hear anything properly. So I pootled back to stage 5A to catch some of There For Tomorrow. Again, decent stuff, but I got too warm again. Blame it being around 29 degrees in Brisbane yesterday. I live in Tasmania, where you're lucky if it reaches 20 at the moment. So I abandoned There For Tomorrow as well and went to find somewhere shadier. Didn't happen because I made the mistake of wandering past stage 6 where blessthefall were playing. Once again, I know one song by btf, but hey, it's metalcore/post-hardcore shit and my kinda music. Besides, I knew Silverstein were playing after them, so I hung around. Turned out to be one of the most fun sets of the day, even if I did only catch the last few songs. Gotta love people diving off speaker stacks into the crowd.

Silverstein then made my day by playing Smashed Into Pieces which just happens to be my favourite song by them and also probably within my top 5 overall. Unfortunately, I gave up on their set too because at this point my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten since about 9am and it was now getting on for 5pm. So, I toddled off, grabbed some chips and headed back to the mainstage for 30 Seconds To Mars. I caught the end of Slash's set which was epic awesome, largely because he (and band) played Paradise City. Ahhh, my early musical explorations. Going through my dad's CDs. Happy times. Seemed like the sound had improved too, so I was hopeful for 30 Seconds To Mars' set. I was rather sadly disappointed. For a start, the sound went back to being shit, which I've since put down to where I was sitting - I think I was just too far back in the stands and at times the main stage was getting drowned out by the bands playing on stage 4, which happened to be Ill Nino and Slayer while 30STM were on. Ill Nino sounded pretty fucking good, by the way. Back to 30STM - what I could hear of the set seemed pretty heavy on This Is War material and they didn't play a single song from the debut album. I don't really like This Is War at the best of times and it was made worse by the fact that Kings And Queens seemed to get dragged out for about 10 minutes. Plus, Jared Leto, cute as he may be, really needs to spend more time singing/playing and less time talking. Seriously. Considering 30STM was one of the bands I was most looking forward to, I was not impressed.

Stuck around at the main stages for the start of One Day As A Lion's set. Some sort of project from Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine fame. Again, sound was shit, but it didn't really seem like my sort of thing anyway, so I went for a wander. By the time I wandered back, ODAAL were finishing up and then it was Queens Of The Stone Age. Another band I only know two songs from, so I was happy when they opened with Sick, Sick, Sick which is one of the two. Considering I was sitting in the same place as previously, the sound seemed much better this time. Plus, it'd got dark by this point, so the light show actually looked good instead of being just a bunch of lights on stage that really didn't do anything. I toddled off halfway through the set because I wanted a good spot for The Blackout's set at 8pm. Sat and watched most of The Maine's set while I was waiting. Fairly generic pop-rock type stuff, but it was fun music and there was a great rock 'n' roll type song at some point which I can't remember the name of.

And then came The Blackout. Oh, where do I start? My favourite set of the night, perhaps? My favourite set of all time? I was actually in the crowd, which is a fucking big deal for me because I have something of a phobia of crowds. But hey, this is The Blackout. I've seen them twice before and both times I've decided that while they're fucking awesome live, I don't like them enough to buy any more than a few singles. Their Soundwave set changed my mind. For a start, vocalist Sean Smith took a dive off the stage a few seconds into the opening song (ShutTheFuckUppercut) and somehow ended up at the back of the crowd. And then there was the having a go at the Mayday Parade fans who were waiting next to us in front of 5A, waiting. Oh, and the fact that finally I managed not to mangle my knees during Save Our Selves. That set is probably the most involved I've been at a show ever.

Anyways, before this turns into a ramble about how fucking awesome The Blackout are live, let's move on to my final set of the day. Mayday Parade. Now, I love Mayday Parade. I've seen them live once before and it was awesome - the only other show where I've gone into the crowd on my own. Last night was as good as then and the crowd were totally into them. However, the set list seemed virtually unchanged since I saw them last March, with the addition of If You Wanted A Song Written About You... I thought they might have changed it a little more, but I suppose if they've not been to Australia since then it makes some sort of sense. Ah well, it was still an awesomely energetic end to a brilliant day. Now, I just have to find some way (and the cash) to come back and do it again next year...

I was going to hang around and catch Anberlin headlining stage 3, but I had to get back to the hostel before 11pm to check in properly. Shame, but I know Anberlin are awesome live - I saw them a couple of years ago. Maybe I'll catch them in the UK some time after I get back in summer.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Band Of The Week: One-Eyed Doll

Having recently rediscovered the awesomeness of, I made the mistake of having a random hop through their catalogues. I came across a band by the name of One-Eyed Doll, thought their album art looked interesting so had a listen. I fell in love within two tracks. So, despite telling myself I wouldn't buy any more music for a while (not counting MATM's EP, because I've been looking forward to that for ages), I went ahead and bought 3 albums of scrummy One-Eyed Doll material.

One-Eyed Doll are kinda hard to define. They're female-fronted, that's obvious - vocalist Kimberly Freeman has a brilliant, distinctive voice that puts me in mind somewhat of Romily Alice of Japanese Voyeurs. Style-wise though, there's hard rock, punk and some sort of metal. I mean, some tracks show a very definite thrash metal influence. Not actually thrash metal themselves, but there's that feel there. There's also quite a strong grunge feeling on some tracks. Right old mash of influences, which is wonderful.

It was Freeman's voice that really drew me in - deceptively sweet and yet sometimes so harsh (which is probably what reminded me of Romily Alice). But what caught my attention was the track Be My Friend on the album Monster. It actually made me laugh out loud, which isn't that common a reaction from me with regards to music. It's such a sweet, funny and yet sinister song. It's that that made me fall in love. I didn't need to listen to the rest of the album - I downloaded it there and then, checked out a few of the tracks on their other albums and promptly downloaded Break and Hole as well. Then I discovered this little wonder.

How can you not enjoy that? There's that same fun take on things as there is in Be My Friend. So of course I had to download the You're A Vampire single too. Ahh, new music overdose.

What's wonderful is that on the band's bandcamp, you can pay whatever you want for their albums, including nothing. However tempting it may be to download it for free, I strongly suggest paying for their music - it's well worth the money, and they're the sort of band that actually need your cash.

Damnit, I wish I could see these guys live, but I doubt they'll be coming over to Australia any time soon. I will make do with their awesome albums and the "rockumentary" I found on YouTube. An hour and a half of awesomeness, including bits of live shows. Which look like total epic awesome. When I finally get my arse over to the States, I am totally hunting down at least one One-Eyed Doll show.

So, check 'em out, let me know what you think and pass it on.

Assorted One-Eyed Doll links:
Official site

Recommended tracks:
From Hole: Scapegoat, Hoochie Mama, Hole, Recipe 4 Success, Wheels On The Bus
From Monster: Be My Friend, Brief Candle, UFO, PAO!, Monster
From Break: Airplane Man, See Jane Run, Cinderblock, New Orleans, Resurrection
You're A Vampire/Battle On! (single/b-side)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Band Of The Week: Me And The Mountain

My Emilie Autumn post has been put on hold (again), since it was a mention by Me And The Mountain on Twitter that kinda jolted me into actually writing this week's Band Of The Week. Apparently they found my post from last week.

"@MATMofficial: Just spotted this little ditty from @ZoeDixon : We're just below @thedamnedthings so it can't be bad!"

So, they get the post, because, hey, they are indeed awesome. And if they hadn't mentioned that, I would completely have forgotten to post this week. This is what I posted about them last week:

"English, female-fronted rock. And if you dare compare them to Paramore I'm likely to kill you. Just because it's a female fronted rock band doesn't make it like Paramore. Besides, Me And The Mountain are shitloads better than Paramore. The debut EP Ruthless is due out at the beginning of February - should be on the iTunes store."

How to expand on that? Well, their debut single Hands To Yourself  is pretty damn awesome. Brilliant video to go with it too. But what really made me fall in love was their acoustic session on McFly's Super City site. As it is, I'm rather inclined to say I'm more enamoured of Me And The Mountain than McFly (although, that's not all that weird - there's a lot of bands I love more than McFly, however much I adore them). Beautiful voice, beautiful music and there's a violin. Scrummy scrummy gorgeousness. You know what's also awesome? They did an acoustic cover of Biffy Clyro's The Captain and did it justice. Check it out on YouTube. Great harmonies. Gotta love that female/male vocal contrast.

What else to say? Other than that there's something stuck under my O key, so sorry if there's any missing. Hmm... how about, I want the EP now. I wanna hear these new tracks!  And I need to see them live - will have to see if I can catch them after I get back to the UK in June. Seriously, there must be something else I can say. Gah, forget it, I'll just end with - Me And The Mountain are awesome, very rock oriented and definitely worth checking out. So, go do that, let me know what you think and pass it on.

Assorted Me And The Mountain links:

No recommended tracks - just wait till the EP's out. Maybe I'll recommend some then. Till then, check their Myspace and YouTube.